Jan at Rev Gal Blog Pals wrote the biddings to the Friday Five this week. But I confess–I got distracted by her opening statement. She writes, “Just getting back from four days of silence, I am suddenly thrust back into the world.” Her words thrust me back into silence–the kind of silence with which I begin my days.
Jan got me wondering and remembering the gates, the doors that have, over the years opened my way into silence. Here are the first five that come to mind:
2. Sometimes I read before I settle into silence or that that for me passes as silence. Right now I’m reading A Book of Hours by Donald Culross Peattie. Sometimes his words stop me in my tracks. He has a way of hurling me into a moment when words are sapped of their strength. He leaves me wordless. And that is good. Strange–he does this through words. Describing a country burying grounds he writes, “And, at the last, a tree gives up its life to make him a home, and a stone is stood on end for him. The last? No, of course, that is not the last of the story. The uneasy earth mound erodes away, in the end. The boards are punkwood and foxfire. With a slow tug of gravity, and a frost heave, earth claims back even her stone, rubs away the graving on it, tilts it, floors it, and finally scrawls her own idea of an epitaph, in lichen runes”(127).
3. There are days when I claw my way to the chair where I try to sit in silence. Cares of the world both drive me there and ensare me as I try to settle in. On days like that, I light a little candle that floats on rocks gathered not only by me but also by my dad and grandmother. In the candle’s flame, I light an incense stick. The light, the fragrance and the ritual pulls me away from that which distracts and into the healing silence.
4. Sometimes I look up and see my friend Mary watching over me. She had no patience for silence. No time for it. She was busy living life. And yet….she had a way of understanding other paths, other ways. On her memorial service leaflet are the words, “Therefore, nothing is ever lost, and each thing is everything forever. For is not life continuous? And though I shall die, shall I not also continue to live in everything that is?”
5. Perhaps the most delightful way I’ve found to enter the silence is to imagine that I am a jellyfish floating in still water while listening to the Taize Chant, “Nothing Can Trouble.” Will you join me in that space? Just hum to yourself, “Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. Those who seek God will never go wanting. Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. God alone fills us.”